Jimmy Dack speaks exclusively to the Official Newport County Website
County manager Jimmy Dack will take charge of his Newport County side this Saturday for the final time in a four-year spell that has seen him take on both the assistant manager and manager role. It has been a County career that has seen Dack involved in just shy of 200 competitive first team fixtures, and seen him help steer County to two Wembley finals, the second of which ended with promotion to the Football League.
"I've had a great four years at this football club, they've been nothing short of fantastic. When Justin and I walked into this football club we were second from bottom and the club was only going one way. What we did is we got some good players around us, some of those are still here, and we've gone from strength to strength - we've bought in some great players who helped get us to Wembley in the Trophy Final, and although we didn't win it was a great experience for everyone."
The following year and County secured a place in the Football League thanks to a Play Off Final victory, a game which Jimmy rates as one of his greatest memories in football. "The Play Off Finals were a great occasion that will stick in my memory for the rest of my life. I can't tell you how good it was that day to look up into the stands at Wembley and see grown men and women crying because their football club was back in the Football League.
"The season we got promoted we came runners up to Mansfield, who this season are in the bottom six, I think it shows just how far we've come as a club and as a group of players; to be competing to try and get in the Play Offs. The club is progressing and long may that continue, hopefully the next man who comes in can carry on the trend and continue to take this football club forward because that's what the fans deserve."
Jimmy also had high praise for the supporters who he believes are the heartbeat of the football club. "If it wasn't for the fans this club would not be where we are today. They have always supported us, they have understood what we were trying to do. We're competing with clubs who have got much better infrastructure, they have their own stadiums, they have their own training grounds. But that shows how far we've come as a football club, and the fans understand that.
"You don't often see fans at football clubs clap a team off after a defeat, but as long as the players role their sleeves up and try then they get that support here. That is the fans biggest asset, they pay their money and want to see everyone try, if you do that you gain the fans respect. I can't thank the fans enough, over my four years here we've grown together, we've got a good relationship, I'd like to thank the fans from the bottom of my heart, those memories will stay with me forever.
"There are some extremely hard working people at this football club, and for me, no one does more than Howard Greenhaf. He has been instrumental at this football club and he probably doesn't get the accolades that he should do, but he keeps going, he works tirelessly hard to keep pushing this club forward."
Dack was also quick to praise his entire backroom team at County, and also wanted to make sure people remembered the involvement Justin has had over the years. "Let's not forget the work that Justin has done for this football club, I really hope people can remember that and respect him, I'm sure they will.
"As well as the fans, the players, myself and Justin, the whole backroom staff have been instrumental over the past four years. Justin and myself put together a good team of staff. We've been very fortunate to have a backroom staff who work tirelessly hard under difficult circumstances at times.
"Macca the goalkeeping coach comes in and is very methodical in what he does, he works really hard and I really respect the job he does. Harty - the kit man - the players want for nothing, he's a really good person to have around the place, and he loves this football club.
Tony James is a great character to have around, a former player who got us back into the Football League I've huge respect for him. Adam Roche, the physio, he's got to take the credit for getting players back from injury in good time, and of course Wayne Hatswell, he's given this club everything he can over the past two years, and I can't thank him enough.
There are too many people to mention all by name, but I'd like to say a special thank you to Si who does all the food for the players in the week, she never has a day off, she's bubbly and really looks after the boys.
Dack admits that he will be leaving Newport with a tear in his eye, but immensely proud of what he has achieved. "I feel I can walk out of the front door of this football club with my head held high, I am part of Newport County's history, and there aren't many people who can say that. I am extremely proud of my time here, and I hope in time that I will be welcome back."